Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sarra Najjar talk about her experience volunteering in Bolivia with ICS

I’ve reached the half way mark, a landmark that seemed a lifetime away when I was still in England, staring out of my window at the familiar concrete labyrinth with its classic soundtrack of sirens and a low pumping bass in the distance. Putting my time here into words is a complex matter, as the vivid moments are so varied and detailed in my mind that words seem to capture little of the true feeling behind the experience. However I shall attempt it….
            I must start with something that caused me some anxiety before arriving but has eased itself into a sweet delight: my host family & roomie, three sassy women with caring hearts, who I couldn’t feel more comfortable with. Tucked into the cosy little neighbourhood of Bolognia, up winding hills, sanctified with stunning views and an adorable community, I have found a little haven in this vast country of rainforest and mountain.
Working against childhood cancer has been a very interesting and eye opening experience so far. It is a tricky issue to deal with. There is the illness itself, which you cannot really blame on anyone, taking its course however it pleases. Then there is the part, where there is a potential possibility of a cure for some, but individuals may not even get this chance because of financial or political complications. As part of our work we are campaigning with a local charity called AVCII to enforce a policy that delegates 10% of the governments budget towards providing healthcare, which is itself a basic human right. A heated conference, peaceful marches, shouting Spanish I don’t quite understand and waving our banners and flags feels like the least I could do to contribute to the situation here in Bolivia.
Spending a day with the children in the park and organizing activities for them has been one of the main highlights so far. Watching them play happily, enjoying the essence of childhood, unhindered by the sickness they have been unfairly diagnosed with, gave me great strength and gratitude. One young man robbed of a leg and the sight in one eye played football skilfully and his boisterous, confident manner made me proud, despite only knowing him for a few hours. He was not going to be defeated and such strong will power in someone so young was truly inspiring.                                                                                     I feel this experience is a major stepping stone in the exact direction I wish to take in life, fuelling my resilience to continue travelling the world and providing as much help as I can give to those who are in need of it. I am someone who has been fortunate enough to travel to various parts of the world, ranging from the Middle East to Europe and now South America. The radical difference between countries has always excited me and given me a sense of oneness with the universe, as despite the intense differences from place to place, the need for humanity is essential no matter where you go. I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to be here and although at times it may feel frustrating as I cannot change things in an instant, I must remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and perseverance and determination will be my best friends in my journey of healing the world.

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